Player value in dynasty football reminds me of watching ocean waves. They ebb and flow, always in a state of flux. Competitive dynasty players anticipate these movements before they happen and act by picking up, buying, or selling players as the situation demands. Owners have previously been at the mercy of regular waiver segments to assist in dynasty pickups, but these fail to take the long-term view necessary to dynasty success. This bi-weekly segment will focus on identifying assets that will help dynasty teams build for the future as well as players that may plug a hole on a leaky roster.
Midway through the fantasy season, the waiver wire has become a very barren place in typical dynasty leagues. Not only is there a lack of talent from which to choose, but the percentage of budget required to land said talent tends to be higher. That being said, let’s look at potential pickup candidates in your league!
Players on this list have previously appeared in this article as pickups, but have had value spikes that make them unlikely to be out there in your league. If they are still on your waiver wire by some miracle, blow your budget to acquire their services!
Dak Prescott, DAL
Christine Michael, SEA
Jerick McKinnon, MIN
Jay Ajayi, MIA
Jordan Howard, CHI
Jacquizz Rodgers, TB
Marvin Jones Jr, DET
Travis Benjamin, SD
Stefon Diggs, MIN
Tyrell Williams, SD
Willie Snead IV, NO
Quincy Enunwa, NYJ
Chris Hogan, NE
Terrelle Pryor, BUF
Sammie Coates Jr, PIT
Cameron Meredith, CHI
Cameron Brate, TB
Dennis Pitta, BAL
Jesse James, PIT
Zach Miller, CHI
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 25 OR FEWER ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)
Contending 20-40%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Sam Bradford, MIN- While many (self-included) are not fans of Bradford’s game in recent years, we must admit that Bradford is keeping the Vikings viable. He may be able to keep your team afloat as well.
Contending 20-30%, Rebuilding 5-10% | Brock Osweiler, HOU- Another quarterback who may be serviceable, but is clearly only to be played in matchups against poor defenses.
Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ- With Geno Smith’s injury, Fitzpatrick is back in action. He may have been dropped in your league after having been benched and is worth picking up if desperate at the position.
Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jay Cutler, CHI- We are likely to see the return of Cutler soon due to Brian Hoyer’s injury. If you are very hard-up at QB, he may be worth grabbing on the cheap. A banged-up Alshon Jeffery, Cameron Meredith, and Zach Miller are still better options than some quarterbacks have.
Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 10-50%| Charles Sims, TB- Don’t forget about Sims. His having been placed on IR may cause owners in shallower formats to cut Sims, but know that he was performing well before his knee injury and that he will be back to serve a valuable role for this team. Stash him in PPR leagues where you can do so, even if you are contending.
Contending 20-30%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Robert Kelly, WAS- Matt Jones’ fumble issues have once again reared their ugly head. The Redskins may opt to roll with the competent Kelly from here on out, making him a serviceable option for contending teams.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 10-25%| DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, OAK- The three-headed backfield continues to be an ugly mess in the Black Hole, but Washington and Richard have both shown flashes when they got opportunity in the absence of Latavius Murray. They are worth stashing away, as Latavius Murray does not project to hold on to his job long-term.
Contending 30-50%, Rebuilding 50-70% | Davante Adams, GB- Is Devante Adams starting to get it? His play on this past week’s Thursday game suggests that he is! Adams has the second-round draft pedigree and metrics that suggest greatness. If he truly has overcome his issues with inconsistency, he may be a league winner and a valuable dynasty commodity. He's out there in only the shallowest of leagues, but pick him up if he's there!
Kenny Britt 10-30%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Kenny Britt, LA- Britt’s finally showing a sprinkle of the talent that had the Titans enamoured when they took him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Sadly, his quarterback’s play will make Britt a boom or bust option on most weeks.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 10-30%| Tajae Sharpe, TEN- Sharpe’s contending stock cooled when we saw that this passing offense wasn’t going to run efficiently on most weeks. His coach admitting that Sharpe has “taken a step back” is also concerning, but to be expected for a rookie. We still need to stash Sharpe on our rosters in all but the shallowest formats. It was evident that Tajae Sharpe was the most trusted receiver on the roster in the eyes of Marcus Mariota earlier this year. A savvy route runner, Sharpe always seemed to be at the right place on the field. While Tennessee’s offense has been woeful as of late, brighter days may be ahead in the long-term picture with a coaching staff change likely on the way and his continued growth as a player.
Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Cole Beasley, DAL- At least while Dak Prescott is at quarterback and Dez Bryant continues to miss time, Beasley will be heavily targeted in the passing game and be a high-floor play in PPR dynasty leagues.
Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jamison Crowder, WAS- Another PPR dynamo, he’s not going away while Cousins is his quarterback.
Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Ty Montgomery, GB- The Packers are using Montgomery as a receiver out of the backfield to simulate their running game. This should continue until Knile Davis can get up to speed. Montgomery isn’t as athletic as some of the other wideouts on his team, but he is reliable and on-point with his assignments, making him a favorite target for Aaron Rodgers.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Seth Roberts, OAK- Roberts is behind Cooper and Crabtree, but he is one injury away from being able to step into a number two role in a productive situation. He continues to make big plays and be an important part of the Raiders passing attack.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Robert Woods, BUF- With Watkins out of the line-up, Woods and Charles Clay had been absorbing his targets. Woods missed week seven action with a foot injury. However, when healthy, Woods may continue to do enough weekly in PPR leagues to be a viable fill-in, especially during the bye-week crunch time.
Contending 15-25%, Rebuilding 10-30%| Ladarius Green, PIT- Green becomes much less attractive with Ben Roethlisberger missing time and may be held out until his quarterback returns. He’s still worth rostering as a potential late-season savior at the position.
Contending and Rebuilding 15-25%| Jack Doyle, IND- Allen’s injury bumped Doyle back into relevance and he’s been targeted often ever since. Knowing Allen’s history of being a slow healer, Doyle may end up being a top-ten option the rest of the way.
Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 1-5% | Vernon Davis, WAS- While Jordan Reed is out with yet another concussion, Davis is the man Kirk Cousins is looking to at tight end. It could be a while before we see Reed again, making Davis extremely interesting to needy teams.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Virgil Green, DEN- Green was involved in the offense, but didn’t find the endzone before going down for multiple weeks with an injury. Be patient and pick up Green on the cheap where you can while the price is depressed. If Paxton Lynch can find his way into the lineup over Trevor Siemian this season, things will get even better for Green.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Charles Clay, BUF- With a banged up receiving corps in Buffalo, it should mean more targets for Clay. If your team is struggling at tight end, Clay makes a nice plug-and-play option until such time as Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and Marquise Goodwin are healthy.
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN MORE THAN 25, BUT FEWER THAN 40 ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Brett Hundley, GB- The Packers had genuinely good things to say about his development in year one. He’ll sit behind Rogers for several years, but he’ll get his shot, either with the Packers or someone else.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jimmy Garoppolo, NE- Groomed behind Tom Brady, Garoppolo has learned from one of the best in the business. Some other team (or New England themselves) will likely give him a shot to be their quarterback of the future.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Trevor Siemian, DEN- Siemian is showing a calm poise and is leaning on his defense, which is exactly what his coaches want him to do. While Paxton Lynch is clearly the future in Denver, Siemian showed us why the Broncos may be content to delay that era for now.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1%| Case Keenum, LA- As we saw this week, Keenum is a highly volatile option, especially in leagues where interceptions are heavily penalized. Don’t throw Keenum in unless you absolutely have to.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Jeremy Langford, CHI- Langford’s ankle injury dipped his value because it opened the door for the more talented Jordan Howard to overtake him. We’ll see what the backfield looks like when Langford returns.
Contending 1-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR- Artis-Payne goes back to the bench since Stewart will probably be able to go in week six, but we know that Stewart has a tough time staying healthy. Artis-Payne may end up back in the line-up again this year.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Dwayne Washington, DET- I don’t see Washington as being superior to Zach Zenner, but he and Theo Riddick did get all the carries when he was healthy. It’s worth grabbing him to see what happens in leagues where he’s not owned or tossed back after his injury.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Andre Ellington, ARI- Talent was never the question -- it’s been the injuries that have derailed Ellington. Chris Johnson’s injury may open the door for Ellington to get a little more work, but David Johnson is still the man in Arizona. It may not happen again in the desert with Ellington, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him once again producing as a starter with another team.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Cody Latimer, DEN- Latimer is buried behind the newly extended Emmanuel Sandersand Demaryius Thomas, but he earned the #3 role. It would take one of them getting injured for Latimer to have value this year, but we are seeing positive signs of his development. Latimer remains one of my favorite stash players because we’ve seen flashes of his talent from time to time. If he can get going in the Paxton Lynch era, he could be a big hit for our dynasty squads.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jaelen Strong, HOU- Strong hasn’t done much in the regular season. He didn’t win the #2 job from Fuller. However, his development in the offseason suggests to me that he could break out in the future if given the right opportunity. Strong’s talent is such that I’m taking notice and stashing him where I can.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU- Fiedorowicz is benefiting from the fact that Bill O'Brien took over the playcalling duties and that Ryan Griffin is banged up. If both of these things continue, Fiedorowicz can be a viable fill-in for those teams that are hard-up at the tight end position.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Crockett Gillmore, BAL- Gillmore is back after being washed out to sea before the season. With Maxx Williams placed on IR, he steps into the second tight end role. It will be hard to know which tight end will benefit from week to week as much as Flacco spreads the ball around, but there are much worse desperation options to toss out.
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 40+ ROSTER SPOTS LEAGUES/ LEAGUES WITH LARGE TAXI SQUADS)
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Trevone Boykin, SEA- Russell Wilson’s MCL sprain didn’t result in missed time for Wilson, but Boykin is there and competent enough to run this offense should Wilson actually miss time in the future.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Mike Glennon, TB- Trade rumors swirled around Glennon leading up to and during the Draft, but Tampa hung on to him as the backup to Jameis Winston. He will need an injury to Winston or a change of scenery (he is a free agent next year) to unlock his value.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Ryan Nassib, NYG- Eli Manning has stayed surprisingly healthy, so Nassib has rarely gotten to show what he can do. Nassib is heading to free agency in 2017 and will more than likely pick a team with which he has a chance to start. We will continue to watch Nassib closely to see if he is showing the signs of development that we want to see in a young prospect. So far, we haven’t seen much to suggest the light bulb is coming on, even though his measurables are enviable.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Garrett Grayson, NO- He was cut earlier in the year to make room for much-needed offensive line help in Jahri Evans, but was stashed on the practice squad. Coach Sean Payton indicated that the cut was a roster move and had nothing to do with Grayson’s development. He’s a little short for the quarterback position, but he’s very smart and poised. Sound familiar? That’s because he’s sitting behind Drew Brees, who had a very similar profile. I look for him to be Brees’ eventual replacement.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Peyton Barber, TB- This Matt Waldman favorite and UDFA was cut earlier in the year, but immediately added back to the 53-man roster behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims. Now with Martin and Sims injured, he’ll get some touches behind Jacquizz Rodgers and perhaps earn a more sizeable role going forward if he does well with them.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Zach Zenner, DET- Zenner got the work this past Sunday with Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington out and scored on a short-yardage dive. It will take the coaching staff giving him increased touches and good matchups to unlock his fantasy potential, but Zenner is my favorite back of the three.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Knile Davis, GB- Traded to Green Bay after Eddie Lacy was sidelined by injury, it may be what Davis needed to revive his career. Let’s see if he looks good on his touches going forward.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jonathan Williams, BUF- Williams is the more talented of the two Arkansas runners that went in the draft. He got a DUI before the season, but it probably will not result in a suspension until 2017. We could see him get more work along with Mike Gillislee with LeSean McCoy ailing.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Malcolm Brown, LA- It may take a Gurley injury or a change of team for Brown to become relevant, but there's a lot to like based on his tape and preseason performances. He is the Rams’ third string back this season.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Tyreke Hill, KC- We’re seeing the young rookie with blazing speed get mixed in more and more. If his role continues to grow, he’ll be someone we want to own in PPR formats.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Keith Marshall, WAS- He was drafted in the seventh round by the Redskins. In spite of early reports indicating he would not be healthy enough to make the team, Marshall battled back and even flashed at times during camp practices. Though he was placed on IR and will miss a great deal of the season (and perhaps more if they do not elect to activate him), he’s someone to watch if Matt Jones falters.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Orleans Darkwa, NYG- Darkwa is a dynasty favorite of fellow Footballguy Chad Parsons. He has better-than-average athleticism and pass-catching skills and has shown competency as a runner when the Giants have given him touches. He’s not going to get enough work with Jennings once again healthy, but he’s someone we want to keep an eye on in the long-term.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Tyler Ervin, HOU- Drafted this year by the Texans, the Darren Sproles-sized runner has shown his quicks and a willingness to run between the tackles and take hits. He is someone to monitor in deep formats.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Daniel Lasco, NO- A SQARQ standout, Lasco is seemingly buried behind Mark Ingram II and Tim Hightower. However, the backs ahead of him have not exactly been the healthiest runners in their time in the league. Lasco has the skills to shine if he can find his way into the rotation.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Josh Ferguson, IND- The Colts did not take any running backs in this year’s class, but they did sign a talented UDFA in Ferguson. Frank Gore isn’t exactly a spring chicken at age 33 and despite being number two on the depth chart, Robert Turbin looks unimpressive. Ferguson had a nice camp and is showing chops as a receiver out of the backfield. He needs to improve pass blocking, but there is some long-term potential here.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Terrell Watson, CLE- A big and athletic back that Cleveland signed away from the Bengals, Watson would likely step into a Jeremy Hill-type role for the Browns if Isaiah Crowell were to miss time.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Corey Grant, JAX- Here’s another athletic back who is buried behind Ivory, Yeldon, and Robinson on the depth chart. Yet we only need to look at what happened with David Johnson this past year to see that sometimes injuries break just right and allow a buried player to emerge and show what he can do.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Cordarrelle Patterson/ Charles Johnson/ Adam Thielen, MIN- Minnesota took Laquon Treadwell in the first round of the Draft, but so far, he has not been able to grasp the offense and see meaningful snaps on the NFL field. With Stefon Diggs banged up, these three receivers have had to step up with Kyle Rudolph and Jerick McKinnon to snag passes. While I do believe Treadwell ultimately will get on track, any of these three make a good desperation play at receiver on any given week. Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson in particular would benefit from a change of team to elevate their dynasty statuses.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Jalin Marshall, NYJ- A former five-star recruit, the UDFA out of Ohio State was impressive in camp. Praised by Ryan Fitzpatrick for being a “sponge,” Marshall made the roster as a kick returner and a depth wide receiver who could eventually develop into more.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Tre McBride, TEN- He's basically “Amari Cooper lite” in my eyes. He’s back on Tennessee’s practice squad, but with few established options in the passing game, McBride might have a shot to catch on down the road.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Tyler Higbee- LA- A fourth-round pick due to a checkered past, Higbee made plays in camp and showed acumen on underneath routes. With Jared Cook having departed for Green Bay and no established options on the depth chart, Higbee has a chance to eventually be the guy at tight end for the young Jared Goff.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Jace Amaro, TEN- Injury robbed him of a chance to show what he was capable of in his sophomore year and the Jets decided to move on. Tennessee snapped him up and there really isn’t much behind Delanie Walker. This landing spot is mildly interesting and I could see a scenario in which Amaro finally delivers on his potential if things break right for him long-term. He is getting some targets weekly which is encouraging.
LOST AT SEA
(PLAYERS WHO RECENTLY APPEARED IN THIS COLUMN, BUT HAVE HAD THEIR VALUE DECREASE TO THE POINT THEY HOLD NO VALUE IN ALL BUT THE VERY DEEPEST OF DYNASTY LEAGUES.)
Blaine Gabbert, SF- Losing the starting gig tanks Gabbert’s value.
Brian Hoyer, CHI- Hoyer suffered a broken left arm in last Thursday’s action. It’s unclear whether he’ll be the starter upon return. That being said, he’s not worth holding on to in all but the deepest of dynasty leagues.
Cody Kessler, CLE- Kessler was knocked out of the game in week seven and wasn’t doing much for our fantasy teams anyway.
James Starks, GB- Health issues of his own have basically tanked Starks’ dynasty value.